World Culture Festival row: Not fair to doubt intent of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living, says Naqvi in RS

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's 'World Culture Festival' event rogainsed by Art of Living foundation is being held adhering to all rules and laws.

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2016, 12:00 PM IST
World Culture Festival row: Not fair to doubt intent of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living, says Naqvi in RS

New Delhi: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's 'World Culture Festival' event planned on the Yamuna floods plains by the Art of Living foundation is being held adhering to all rules and laws.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader made the statement in Rajya Sabha today.

"Sri Sri is committed towards protecting environment. It would be wrong to doubt his commitment towards nature," Naqvi told the Upper House amid uproar by the Opposition members.

"To doubt the intent of organisers will not be fair," Naqvi added.

Raising objection to the uproar by Opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "If a matter is pending with the NGT, ordinarily chair doesn't allow issue to be raised in RS."

The Opposition criticised the government in the Rajya Sabha for using Army personnel for the event being organised by Art of Living.

The issue was raised by Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and other members during Zero Hour.

Amid ruckus, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said it was "highly irregular" that the services of Indian Army personnel were enlisted for a "private event".

Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal will today resume hearing on the pleas seeking cancellation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's cultural mega-extravaganza on the ecologically fragile Yamuna flood plains.

The three-day event will be held on the floodplains of the Yamuna river near DND toll bridge and massive construction is underway for the festival starting March 11.

The event, being held on the 35th anniversary of the Art of Living foundation.

The programme that is expected to be attended by 35 lakh people from 155 countries.

Earlier, reacting to the allegations of causing damage to the environment for 'World Culture Festival' event on Yamuna flood plains, Sri Sri Ravi had said, it is the joke of the year when people say that his organisation is polluting the Yamuna river.